Finally, there’s those odd interludes of comic book humour (‘Tie My Pecker To A Tree’, ‘99 Bottles Of Beer’, ‘In The Army Now’) that confirm that despite the passage of time, and the semblance of maturity with which Melvins carry themselves, they’re just a bunch of potty-mouthed kids who’ll never grow up – and why the fuck should they? Melvins are still out there, just doing their shit.
Melvins are an enigma – not just because Buzz Osborne, with his frizzed hair, stumpy figure and weird-guy-at-school demeanour looks as much a photogenic rock star as Alan Jones is a candidate to join a Ramones cover band. It’s because Melvins are a cartoon version of a heavy rock band. It’s because they take the piss out of themselves and anyone who likes them, while thrashing the buggery out of their instruments and their fans’ ears. And it’s because Melvins are still with us, despite the transition of fashion, popular trends and industry whims.
Melvins’ latest album is Tres Cabrones. The immediate salient institutional element of the record is the presence of original drummer, Mike Dillard; beyond that, it’s another crazy step in Melvins’ already weird and wonderful journey. You can group the tracks on the album into four rough categories: firstly, the dumb and ugly grunge-metal tracks (‘Doctor Mule’, ‘City Dump’, ‘American Cow’, ‘Stump Farmer’), thumping bursts of psychotic punk energy that fuck with your brain and brutally violate your cognitive capacity. Secondly, the fuzzy-psychotic shit that’s more an excuse for Melvins to conjure up deranged sonic images (‘Dogs And Cattle Prods’, ‘Psychodelic Haze’, ‘I Told You I Was Crazy’). Thirdly, the Ramones-esque amphetamine punk statements (‘Walter’s Lips’, ‘Stick’em Bitch’) that confirm the Christian Right’s every fear about the social dangers of rock’n’roll.
BY PATRICK EMERY
Tres Cabrones is out now through Ipecac Recordings